Gearing up for Thanksgiving

New favorite napping spot by the side door.

Not sure if Bear knows about Thanksgiving, that it is one day away, and that we must train our gastrointestinal fortitude, but he has been putting his insides through some impressive strains.  To get the most out of our turkey meal we need to increase the quantity that our stomachs hold, which can be done in just a few trips to Taco Bell.  Bear has taken an alternate path to gastrointestinal fortitude.

Bear has not only increased the quantity, but he has also increased the variety of what is consumed.  In addition to his impressive volume of food (he is currently going through five pounds a day), Bear also is dabbling in a plethora of new food.  He is testing the limits of his GI tract with boots, toothbrushes, Nerf gun, and DVD cases.  I’m not sure how much of these he actually gets down to his gullet, but I pick up remnants of his work around the house.

I’m not exactly sure why his chewing and consuming of non-food items has increased.  I’m certain he doesn’t know about Thanksgiving.  In fact, Thanksgiving will likely be a bummer for Bear.  He’ll spend more time alone than he usually does.  If we bring him to the in-laws, he’s likely to spend a big chunk of that time in the car, alone.  This will not be enjoyable for him.  He’ll smell the turkey, the stuffing, the green bean casserole, but he’ll be stuck in the van, fogging up the windows.

Bear would much rather have his normal day.  He gets up with Declan at 630, says his hellos, and then hits the couch for a nap.  I take him for a run on the bike.  He runs off leash at the school.  After a few exercises back at home, he hits the couch for solid two-hour nap.  In the evening there is a long walk, possibly to the dog park, and then back home for bed.

I wonder if the increased consumption of non-food items is largely from the Thanksgiving break, with kids and chaos home during the day, and with my mom and her dog, Mimi, visiting.  He loves greeting people as they come over.  He’ll have something in his mouth, a hat, a shoe, and occasionally a dog toy, while he nudges the person, wagging not just his tail, but his whole body.  Unfortunately, the fun doesn’t continue for Bear.  In his excitement he grabs kid’s belongings that pile up near the door.  Then the kid or a parent reprimand Bear, “No! Leave it!”  He drops the shoe, and goes for something else, which then elicits a similar response.  Though he enjoys being with people and pets, I believe his stress level increases with an increased amount of negative feedback, which then increases the need to chew things.

I also wonder about Bear’s surroundings compared to the puppies that Kristin trains at her home.  Bear is constantly with us, a part of the family, while the puppies at Kristin’s house are with each other, with limited human contact.  They go through exercises with a person, but otherwise they are with other dogs, mingling in the yard or in the kennel. Bear’s experience is the inverse: Constant contact with people and mere glances with other dogs.  I wonder if the extreme calm of trained service-dogs I see in public is partly from their limited human contact and constant dog contact for the first nine-months of their lives.

Chewing

  • Two sets of earphones
  • One Steve Madden boot
  • Small Nerf gun
  • Bedroom carpet
  • Roll of toilet paper
  • Toothbrush (not sure if it got any plaque off)
  • Book from school
  • DVD case (luckily not the DVD)
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